Burundi Says Will ‘Never’ Allow in UN Special Rapporteur

Burundi’s government has signaled that it won’t allow a recently appointed United Nations special rapporteur on human rights into the East African nation.

Foreign Minister Albert Shingiro last week told reporters, and separately told a meeting with diplomats, that Burundi would “never” allow the special rapporteur to investigate the country, which was rocked by deadly political violence and a crackdown on dissent around the 2015 national election.

Some in the international community have tried to take a fresh approach with Burundi after President Pierre Nkurunziza died last year, but some human rights groups and critics have alleged that repression continues under current President Evariste Ndayishimiye. Local civil society groups last week asserted that several hundred arbitrary arrests have occurred since Ndayishimiye took office in June 2020.

The U.N. special rapporteur for Burundi was created in October by the U.N. Human Rights Council to replace a commission of inquiry on the country.

Burundi’s foreign minister in his comments last week asserted that the current government has improved on human rights, pointing to the termination last month of the U.S. sanctions program on the country. He objected, however, to continued European Union sanctions.

– Eloge Willy Kaneza, AP

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